How Art Lessons made me a better engineer

This past year was the first year I took on a Saturday morning teaching role, for both adults and kids.  I loved every minute of it and met some amazing people, but also had some eye opening moments about why art education is so important!

When 11-year-old Grace (name changed) first came to my classes, she was shy and quiet and refused to do anything without very specific instructions.  If I told her to pick up a brush, she would ask me, “which brush?”.  And if I asked her to squeeze out some paint for her sky, she would say, “which colour?”

Now, I hear some of you saying, “That’s exactly how I would be!”.  But we teachers expect a level of help needed to get going.  What Grace had was a dead fear to make any decision at all – from what to paint to how to paint it.  This didn’t seem normal to me for a kid.

Somewhere along the line she has been taught that there is a specific formula, a black-and-white right answer, for everything.

One day I sat Grace down and explained something to her.  “You’re the artist!”, I said.  “You can do whatever you want!  And if you make a mistake, I’m here to help you fix it.  But go ahead and have fun!”.  Her eyes opened wide and I could almost watch the lightbulb turning on!  She gave me a huge grin along with a sigh of relief.  Her spirit had been unshackled.

I thought her paintings would be worse for a while as she got her bearings.  But I was wrong!  Grace’s paintings were immediately wonderful, incredible for an 11-year-old, and most of all – HERS!

Art teaches kids to trust their own decision making.

There are literally hundreds of decisions going into any painting, at any level, whether conscious or sub-conscious.  That is hundreds of times that a child (or adult for that matter!) has to trust themselves.

Imagine the confidence that stems from the result!

I will be back teaching painting again this year.  Stay tuned for more information on adult and children’s classes, as well as – new! – workshops!

Yours in paint,

Christy

In our house, back to school means back to art lessons!   Both my girls are old enough this year to join my classes with the other kids – yay!  See Miss Maya’s (8 YO) Starry Night interpretation below!

Maya_Feb2018

2 comments

  1. Great color and great yellow and yes I have been thinking about this lately and art just makes me feel free and that’s how I know.

    Like

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